Florida commissioner defies DeSantis order to lower flags for Rush Limbaugh
February 23, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – One Florida bureaucrat is refusing to comply with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s order that flags be flown at half-staff in honor of Rush Limbaugh, smearing the recently-deceased conservative media icon and Florida native as a figure of “hate speech, bigotry, and division.”
Limbaugh died Wednesday morning at age 70 after a battle with Stage IV lung cancer. He had announced his diagnosis February 2020, vowing to “come here every day I can and to do this program as normally and as competently and as expertly as I do each and every day,” a promise he kept going into the last month of his life.
DeSantis issued the order to lower flags on Friday, but on Monday state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat, announced that government buildings under her purview would not comply.
“Lowering to half-staff the flag of the United States of America is a sacred honor that pays respect to fallen heroes and patriots. It is not a partisan political tool,” she said, before launching into a partisan political attack on Limbaugh. “Therefore, I will notify all state offices under my direction to disregard the Governor's forthcoming order to lower flags for Mr. Limbaugh – because we will not celebrate hate speech, bigotry, and division. Lowering the flag should always reflect unity, not division, and raising our standards, not lowering them. Our flags will remain flying high to celebrate the American values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all.”
The Agricultural Commissioner is elected independently of the governor in the Sunshine State, and as such DeSantis lacks the authority to force Fried’s compliance.
Despite Fried’s suggestion that DeSantis is using the flag-lowering power for partisanship, WCTV noted that last fall DeSantis also ordered that flags be lowered in recognition of the death of left-wing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with whom the conservative governor significantly disagreed.
DeSantis is popular among conservatives for tackling issues such as Common Core, illegal immigration, and online censorship, as well as for navigating the COVID-19 crisis without curtailing freedom – a record that has many on the Right hoping he will challenge President Joe Biden for the White House in 2024.